John Joseph Olson, age 88, died Monday, October 30, 2023 at CentraCare Hospital in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, November 4 at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Sauk Centre with Rev. Greg Paffel officiating. Interment will be in the parish cemetery.
Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the church.
John was born December 14, 1934 to John F. and Mary (Pflipsen-Thull) Olson in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. He graduated from Sauk Centre High School with the Class of 1953. He began working as a printer’s devil at the Sauk Centre Herald as a senior in 1953, and that lead to a lifetime in the newspaper and printing industry. After graduation John continued at the Herald for five years, then moved to Litchfield to work as a printer at Reed Printing.
John worked as a linotype operator at the St. Cloud Daily Times from 1959 through 1967. It was there he met his wife of 57 years, Roberta Malcheski. They were married May 7, 1966 at St. John Cantius Catholic Church in St. Cloud, and then began a life-long career of weekly newspaper ownership in March of 1968. They owned the Fertile MN Journal 1968-1983; The Osakis MN Review 1989-2001; The Bayfield County Journal at Washburn, Wis., 1992-94.
John was employed by Stearns County Publishing Inc. as advertising manager and print shop manager at the Melrose Beacon and Albany Enterprise from 1985-1990. He was inducted into the Minnesota Newspaper Assn. Half Century Club in 2003.
John volunteered more than 27 years at the Maynard News, the Minnesota Newspaper Museum at the MN State Fair, where he served as a linotype operator and newspaper press operator. John has been an active member of Lions Clubs International since 1966, serving as president of the Fertile, Sauk Centre and Washburn, Wis. Lions Clubs. He received the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award in 1989, the President’s Award, and his pin for 50 years of perfect attendance.
John chaired the Sauk Centre Lions Clown Committee for 20 years and attended the Mooseburger Clown Camp in 2001 and 2002. He had been a parade clown as “Skippy” for many years.
He served as chairman of the Fertile MN and Washburn WI Chambers of Commerce, and was named the Citizen of the Year in Fertile in 1978 for establishing the state’s first satellite medical clinic in Fertile in 1970.
A member of Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church, John sang in several OLA choirs since 1983, along with St. Paul’s Funeral Choir.
John was instrumental in the establishment of the Class of 1953 Dollars for Scholars scholarships which awarded more than 50 scholarships since 1986. His affiliations include the Knights of Columbus, Boating for Seniors, and the Silver Sneakers program. John was an avid golfer, and enjoyed ice fishing.
Survivors include his wife, Roberta; children, John Carl (Beth Puzo) Olson of Temecula, California, Phyllis Olson of Chicago, Illinois, and Adam (Leah) Olson of Chanhassen; six grandchildren, Calah, Jake and Ava of Murrieta, California, Ashley (Chris) Thomas of San Marcos, California, Anthony Puzo of Carlsbad, California, and Jack, Paige and Natalie Olson of Chanhassen; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and brothers and sisters, Herbert, Alfred (Billie) and Walter Thull; Marcella (Earl) Weisner, Phyllis (Joseph) Cirnigliaro, Eleanora (Herbert) Pastien, and Dorothy (Alvin) Mastley.
Memorials are preferred to Class of 1953 Dollars for Scholars or the Eagles Healing Nest.
Arrangements were made with Patton-Schad Funeral and Cremation Services of Sauk Centre.